The subject of how much space per bird is often a question of great debate. There are guidelines of the minimum requirement, but most chicken keepers would agree that 1 foot per chicken is indeed a cramped environment.
If your flock is not allowed to free range during the day and kept in constant cramped quarters, you’re going to find yourself scrambling around looking for a way to separate the docile birds from the aggressive ones. A pecking order is established in all flocks, confined or not. If there isn’t enough room for the weaker birds to escape trouble, you’ll be quite frazzled by their battles and the sometimes the unfortunate outcome.
You can get away with a small housing space if your chickens will be free range during the day. When it’s all said and done, at the end of each day there is usually only one argument… the nests. This problem is usually resolved quickly by the boss hens who choose first, leaving the weaker birds with what’s left.
The best living arrangement for your flock is to offer them space, and the more the better. Happy chickens are those who are free from conflict. Happy chickens are healthy chickens, and that means better egg production.
Recommended Space per Chicken… my opinion
At minimum, 2 square feet floor space in the coop if your chickens are allowed to free range or have a fenced area attached to housing area. If your birds are confined all the time, 3-4 square feet floor space. You won’t gain anything by trying to house too many birds in a small space, truth is, happy birds fill the egg basket plain and simple.